Troop 26, Leadership Atmore join forces to reclaim historic cemetery

Taking part in the cemetery cleanup were, front row from left, Scouts Ashton Garrison, Scotty Lamb, Dillon Seamons, Samuel McIntyre; back row from left, Michael Lamb, Kolby Champlin, Ryan Chason, Greg Babiak, Scout Stephen Kidd, Amanda Gibbs, Hannah Cobb, Cooper Cobb.

News Staff Writer

Most people don’t even know where Williams Station Cemetery is, but two local groups — Leadership Atmore and Scouting America (formerly Boy Scouts of America) Troop 26 — do.
The two groups teamed up last Saturday (June 22) to virtually reclaim the historic burial ground, which was founded in 1886 and is located as far west on Church Street as it can be.
It was the second time each group had worked to remove limbs, leaves and undergrowth that were slowly taking over the site, and to repair some of the gravestones and enclosures that have fallen victim to time, weather, vandals and other forces.
“In one of our first classes in Leadership, we learned about the historical part of the cemetery — that it was Atmore’s first cemetery — and that sort of caught our interest because it seemed like maybe we could get back and preserve the history,” said Leadership Atmore member Kolby Champlin
No one has been buried in Williams Station Cemetery, which is located just east of the former Frisco railroad overpass and which served as the local Methodist Church’s burial ground until 1910, when there just wasn’t enough space for more graves. Several of its former residents were re-interred at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Scouts helped spruce up the semi-necropolis — which is or was the final resting place of Dr. J.D. Trammell (whose practice included Atmore, Perdido and Bay Minette) and more than a dozen of his family members — 75 years later, after it had been allowed to fall into a deep state of disrepair from neglect.
According to a marker placed at the site, Boy Scouts renovated the cemetery during 1984 and 1985 as an Eagle Service Project. That marker was erected by members of Youth Leadership Atmore’s Class of 2005.
Champlin said it was only fitting that the two groups who have done the most to try and preserve the cemetery in the past, should work together in the present to continue the reclamation project.
“When I spoke with Dawn (Skipper, Leadership Atmore’s president), she talked about how the Boy Scouts did a cleanup project on it back in the 1980s,” he said. “I linked up with Amanda Gibbs and her husband (Troop 26 Assistant Scoutmaster Greg Babiak) at the Boy Scouts. We would pitch in on their pancake dinner, and they would come out and help us with this.
“It kind of came full circle, getting everybody involved in it. That’s where it all got started.”